DAY/DATE: Sunday, August 15, 2004
RACE TIME: 2:30 pm EST
RACE: Sirius at the Glen
TELEVISION/RADIO COVERAGE: Live on TNT/MRN Radio
RACE LAPS: 90 laps
RACE WINNER: Tony Stewart
STARTING POSITION: 26th
FINISHING POSITION: 19th
OWNER POINTS POSITION: 26th
RACE RECAP: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series spent the weekend competing in the final road course event of the season at Watkins Glen International. Scott Wimmer, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, had raced in Watkins Glen only once while competing on the Busch circuit. The teams test at the road course was hampered by rain, so Wimmer only garnered minimal laps before returning for the race.
Fridays practice sessions and qualifying were both rained out, leaving teams to lineup according to point standings. Saturdays practice sessions were also limited due to a transmission problem that gave the team limited track time. But once they did hit the track, Frank Stoddard, crew chief for the #22, felt like if they had a pretty good car.
In the early laps of the race, Wimmer spun in the inner loop and lost all the track position they had. When the caution came out on lap seven, Wimmer came to pit road for an air pressure adjustment and four tires after reporting that he was a little loose. Wimmer fought to regain track position, by continuing to pick his way through traffic one at a time. On lap 18, the caution came out when Sterling Marlin spun. Wimmer returned to pit road for four tires and another small adjustment to help gain Wimmer some grip on the track. With track position being important, Stoddard made the call to remain on the track when the caution came out on lap 50 for oil. That gave the team the track position they needed. And since they needed to stop one more time for fuel regardless, it made the decision a clear choice. On the restart, however, Wimmer dove off into turn one and spun, losing all the track position the team had just gained. At that point, the strategies became pit as often as possible and put on four tires and make small adjustments to help gain grip for Wimmer. On lap 74, the caution came out for Brendan Gaughans spin and Stoddard called Wimmer back to pit road for four fresh tires. That decision allowed Wimmer to gain some more positions in the final laps when some other teams were on older tires or having problems. Wimmer went on to finish 19th and Tony Stewart pulled off his second win of the season. Jimmie Johnsons point lead shrunk after a blown engine ended his day.
It was a tough day, said Wimmer. We had track position that one time and I went down in turn one and spun the car out and I spun out through the inner loop in the back. It was a tough day. I couldn’t get the car through the gears real good. Other than that, the guys kept digging all day and gave me a great racecar. I need a little more time on these places. It was real rough. I couldn’t get a groove and keep consistent lap times. Any time you come out of a road race with a top-20 without being here before is pretty good. I was excited. We stayed out of the sand trap but just didn’t have any luck with me getting through the gears real well. I missed a shift one time and that real hard on the engine. I thought I over revved it a couple times but I was fortunate enough that I didn’t blow it up. We put a pretty low-rev chip in it. I was real fortunate because there were a lot of times that I buzzed the motor up. I’m pretty sure I did the same thing that Jimmie Johnson did. I just got lucky and it didn’t blow.